I got to meet Crystal and her beautiful family last week. They welcomed me with open arms and were all so willing to share their stories and their excitement about midwifery care and getting ready to meet their newest addition! Thank you for inviting me into your home!
Who are you? What do you do for a living? How many kids do you have? Tell us a little bit about yourself!
My name is Crystal Lodder, I’m 29 years old and I’m a stay-at-home mom and homemaker. My husband’s name is Phil and we have 3 children and one on the way – due in May. My husband is an HVAC tech and we’ve been married for nearly 9 years. Our children’s names are Lyra (age six), Kinsley (age 5) and Declen (age 21 months).
How did you come to know that midwifery care was an option to you and your family?
I first recognized that midwifery was an option when my aunt had a midwife and a homebirth while I was a teen. Later when we were married there were a number of women in my church that had midwives for their pregnancies and births and after hearing their stories, this really appealed to me.
How far into your pregnancy did you apply for care? When did you find out you were accepted into care?
When I found out I was pregnant with my first I phoned Access River East right away (probably around 4-6 weeks). I was accepted around 12 weeks but we lost that pregnancy shortly after. With my subsequent pregnancies I phoned between 4-6 weeks and was always accepted around 10-12 weeks. I’ve only realized recently how fortunate I’ve been each time to have been accepted so easily and fast!
Are you willing to share your birth story/stories with us? We would love to hear them!
Lyra – I went into labour at almost 2 weeks overdue. We were climbing into bed (late) and my water broke. I laboured at home for a while with Megan and then we headed over to St. Boniface. I walked the halls for what seemed like eternity. I don’t even know how long it was but I know it was quite a few hours. I also tried the tub for a while but my contractions really slowed down unless I was walking so we abandoned that and kept walking. In the morning Janet (who is my “regular” midwife) came and took over from Megan. Eventually I was 10 cm, but with a small lip so we started pushing. I probably pushed for an hour and then I was so exhausted and tired I asked for an epidural. This was not in my birth plan and I was disappointed. After the epidural I was transferred to the care of a doctor but Janet stayed as my support (so thankful!). I pushed for longer and then her heartrate started to dip. The doctor looked at me and told me if I didn’t push hard and get her out they were going to have to use forceps or the vacuum, or even possible c-section. This scared me enough to give it all I had and she was born shortly after! Our first sweet girl – 7 pounds 1 oz. Unfortunately, I hemorrhaged after and had to be put on IV and some other stuff. I felt really tired and weak and crummy after her birth :(
Kinsley – I went into labour 8 days early. We were climbing into bed (late) and my water broke… sensing a trend here? I also laboured at home with just my husband for the night and then in the morning we headed over to St. Boniface. Janet met us there and we decided to try walking the halls again. My labour progressed quite a bit faster than with Lyra and I was adamant this time that I wanted to wait for the urge to push rather than just trying it once I got to 10cm. I did get that urge and I also felt at the time like I wanted to push standing. Janet gave me the ok to do that and so I did. Nurses from the ward came to watch as they had never seen a birth standing before! So I delivered her standing and caught her from below and placed her on the bed. It was a really neat experience. Our second sweet girl – 7 pounds 10 oz. I also hemorrhaged after her birth, but not as bad as my first, and recovered faster with just IV fluids.
Declen – When I was pregnant with him, the birth centre had been built, so Janet encouraged me to have my birth there as I was a good candidate. I was unsure as I had heard of a few women that had been transferred during or after their births. We decided to go and have a tour and my husband and I fell in love with it (especially my husband). I later talked to a couple girls I knew that had been transferred and they all said even after their experiences they would still use the birth centre again. This convinced me and so we decided to try it! I also went into labour 8 days early with him. We were climbing into bed (late) and my water broke….are you surprised? We called my mom to come over and headed to the birth centre to get an IV as I was GBS positive this time. I also wanted the IV port so that they could start an IV immediately after birth to try prevent hemorrhaging again. Fleur met us there as she was on call that night. After getting the IV we decided to go home and labour as my past two labours didn’t progress that quickly. Once home I decided to try and get some sleep but the contractions seemed fairly fast and frequent so I started timing them. They were about 2 minutes apart or less so we headed back to the birth centre. Once there, my contractions were coming very fast and hard which I wasn’t used too and I had a hard time coping with them. Fleur asked if I would want to try the tub, and even though I was skeptical I was willing to try anything at that point. It turned out to be so nice and by the time I was ready to push I didn’t want to get out so we went with it! A water birth was not in my birth plan but it felt right at the time and he was born shortly after 6 am in the water. It was magical! Our first son – 6 pounds 3 oz. I was given IV fluids right away and a super sweet lady made me toast with jam (the best ever!) and I felt SO amazing after he was born. I didn’t hemorrhage and it was such a night and day difference in how I felt from the other 2 births. We went home approximately 6 hours after he arrived, and I was so nice to be in my own shower and my own bed.
What, in your opinion, was the most important part about the care you received?
This is a hard question because I feel that there are so many things about midwifery care that makes it so special and wonderful. I would say that now that I’ve seen Janet nearly every year for the past 8 years she has become more of a friend than just a provider. She and my other midwives have been such a support throughout the years with many things such as breastfeeding issues, my multiple miscarriages (and issues surrounding that) and family crisis. You don’t feel rushed with the hour long appointments and you feel that anything you bring up and want to talk about will be important. The after care is so amazing. You feel completely cared for and comfortable with someone you know coming into your house after birth. I’ve never experienced a birth without a midwife so I don’t know what it’s like to birth without one, but the calm atmosphere during labour and delivery has been very important to me as well.
Would/do you recommend midwifery care to family and friends who are expecting? If so, why? If not, why not?
Yes! I always try to convince people to apply for a midwife. The care that you will receive will be fantastic, and even if your birth experience doesn't go the way you planned it will still be amazing because of your midwife.
Finally, who were your midwives? Do you have a message you would like to send them?
My midwife has been Janet Macaulay throughout all my pregnancies (this is my 8th, if you include my miscarriages), but I've had Megan Wilton at my first birth, Abigail Larson for breastfeeding support after I had Lyra, and Fluer McEvoy delivered Declen. Thank-you to all of you for your roles in bringing our blessings into this world! It's hard to express when you’re going through it all how much you appreciate everything; being able to phone with any question, when you get to know our family (even some of what goes on in our extended family), that you put in your crazy hours to see us in clinic or during long labors and long nights and much more. We appreciate you! Thank-you from the Lodder family!!
**If you are looking for ways to help, you can sign the petition supporting our Midwives and Midwifery care in Manitoba. It can be found HERE.
***If you would like to be a part of this series, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org . I would love to share your story!